When Jim Leavitt was fired from his job as the head football coach at South Florida after the 2009 season, his friends in the coaching community reached out to him with job opportunities.

Leavitt, who had been a college football coach since 1978, had opportunities at a few schools to stay in the college game and be an assistant. What Leavitt really wanted, however, was a chance to coach in the NFL.

After Leavitt took the 2010 season off from coaching, Jim Harbaugh called and hired him as the linebackers coach with the San Francisco 49ers.

"Jim gave me the opportunity to go in the NFL and you never forget that," said Leavitt, now in his second season as the defensive coordinator at Colorado. "He didn't have to. That means a lot to me."

On Saturday, Leavitt will try to beat his former boss. Harbaugh is in his second season as the head coach at fourth-ranked Michigan. Leavitt said he still has a great relationship with Harbaugh, but that won't matter on Saturday.

"I had a great time, I really did," Leavitt said of his four seasons in San Francisco with Harbaugh. "I had a blast. It was fun.

"We're good friends, but he's competitive and so am I."

Leavitt said it might help a little bit to know some of Harbaugh's tendencies as a coach, but said, "When it's kicked off, it doesn't matter about all of that stuff."



• Colorado has a caused at least one turnover in every game since Leavitt was hired — 15 in all. The 15-game turnover streak is tied with North Carolina for the longest in the nation. "I think the main thing we have to keep focusing on is keep creating turnovers and keep giving the ball back to our offense," safety Tedric Thompson said.

• Michigan has one of the best defenses in the country, and Buffs' quarterback Sefo Liufau knows that points and yards will be harder to come by this week. "What they run, they run it very well," he said. "I think that's what separates them from the first two teams we've played this season. They're going to make some plays, it's the nature of the game. But, we'll make some plays, too, and our goal is to be consistent and make more plays than they make this week."

• CU is 2-25 all-time when facing Top 5 teams on the road. In both wins — 1990 at Nebraska and 1994 at Michigan — the Buffs were ranked in the top 10.

• Since 1980, the Buffs are 15-81 when they are unranked and the opponent is ranked.

• CU head coach Mike MacIntyre is one of eight coaches in CU history with 10 or more games against ranked opponents, and the only one of those eight without a victory, going 0-11. Overall, CU has lost 22 in a row against ranked opponents.

• This game is a one-time deal, meaning Michigan will not be making a return trip to Boulder. The game was arranged through ESPN in 2013 and CU will be receiving a $1.4 million paycheck for playing the game. Expenses (travel, hotel, etc.) will come out of that, but the Buffs will still make more than a $1 million profit on this game.

• So far this season, CU is 14-for-15 on third-and-short (3 yards or less). The Buffs are 8-for-8 on third-and-1.

• The Buffs are 15-for-16 in the red zone, with 12 touchdowns. Michigan has yet to allow a red zone score.

• Both teams rank among the nation's best in pass efficiency defense. CU is second, allowing a QB rating of 55.31, and Michigan is sixth, with an opponent QB rating of 69.75.

• Liufau needs 81 passing yards to become the first CU quarterback to reach 8,000 yards for his career. He already holds the career record, with 7,919 yards.

• Buffs receiver Shay Fields has 97 career catches, tying his current position coach, Darrin Chiaverini, for 15th on CU's all-time list. Fields has the advantage over Chiaverini in yards (1,241 to 1,199) and touchdowns (eight to six).

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.